One of the most recognized and celebrated business leaders
John Pappajohn is the Chairman of a successful business company in the field of healthcare. On January 3rd, 2014, the board of directors of Cancer Genetics Inc. appointed John Pappajohn to serve as the Chairman of the Board.
Pappajohn is the son of Greek immigrants in the United States. He grew up in Mason City, Iowa, and started working at the early age of 8. His father died when he was 15 years old and was forced to take care of his two younger siblings and his mother.
He has worked in his father’s grocery store, in a butcher’s shop and gathering copper, iron, brass and rags to fund his siblings’ future college studies.
He studied at the Northern Iowa Community College and then enrolled in the University of Iowa to get a bachelor in Business Administration. He established an insurance agency after graduation from college and later became the co-founder and Chairman of the Board of Guardsman Life Insurance Company, a quite profitable business. However, he later sold his share to be into private business.
He founded Equity Dynamics Inc. in 1969, to use it as the springboard for over 25 new companies.
Pappajohn doesn’t think of companies and investments as a mere products and services exchange but rather as a human communication channel through which the more knowledge, enthusiasm and focus one gives, the more he takes back on personal and financial level.
In 1985, he had the opportunity to prove his life theory by buying out a healthcare company on the verge of bankruptcy. A few years later, he sold it and offered his earnings to the new owners, believing that he had done nothing important to lead this business to success.
His charity work together with his wife Mary is very important. He’s one of the major benefactors of the University of Iowa. Moreover, he has offered $1 million to the Clinical Cancer Center, $3 million to the University of Iowa Hospital and Clinics and $4 million to the Administration Office.
He has been involved in over 100 companies and start ups and has served as a Director in over 40 public companies in the market of biochemistry and healthcare.
He has also organized and financed the John Pappajohn Entrepreneurial Centers at five different universities and colleges in the state of Iowa for more than $30 million, helping create and launch over 1,000 new companies.
He currently serves on the boards of the public companies American CareSource Holdings Inc. and CNS Response. Moreover, he has been the recipient of several awards, like the Horatio Alger Award, the Beta Gamma Sigma Medallion for Entrepreneur of the Year in 1997 and the Hellenic Heritage Achievement Award. In 1998, Art News magazine named John Pappajohn as one of the top 200 art collectors in the world. Together with his wife Mary, he created The Pappajohn Sculpture Garden in Des Moines, worth $40 million.